Background: Access to mental health specialists in Denmark is limited due to long waiting time, especially in the remote areas. Telepsychiatry service, which provides quick and direct access across distances, has been tested as a means of clarifying the vocational potential of unemployed individuals with suspected mental conditions.
Aim: To examine, whether telepsychiatric assessments are feasible for clarification of vocational potential of suspected mentally ill persons, including immigrants.
Methods: A three-phase pilot project was carried out. Ten job centers, located in different parts of Denmark, participated by referring their clients to ‘The Little Prince Psychiatric Center‘ in Copenhagen. Mental health specialists with the relevant language skills conducted the assessment interviews via videoconference and generated an assessment report. A satisfaction questionnaire was completed by the caseworkers and the clients.
Results: Forty nine unemployed individuals were referred by twenty caseworkers during a period of 19 months. A variety of psychiatric diagnoses was disclosed. The overall satisfaction with the telepsychiatry service was reported by the clients and the caseworkers.
Conclusion: Telepsychiatric assessments are feasible with unemployed individuals suspected to be mentally ill, including immigrants. Technical means used in telemedicine are also feasible in related contexts like vocational assessments.
Davor Mucic and Irina Polyanskaya
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